Goodman Theatre leadership announces that the theater will illuminate its brand new marquee for the first time during a public ceremony on Thursday, January 19 at 5:30pm. The iconic vertical marquee above the Goodman’s Dearborn Street main entrance will match the look and dimensions of the original sign, which was erected in 2000 and irreparably damaged by an electrical fire last spring—but feature greater illumination functionality and energy efficiency. Using less than one-tenth of the original’s power consumption, the new marquee features new RGB color-changing LED capability, with each letter individually programmable.
The illumination event will be marked by a public reaffirmation of the core values and artistic priorities the Goodman has maintained on and off stage for more than three decades—Quality, Diversity and Community—as Chicago’s largest Tony Award-winning not-for-profit theater led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer. As a symbol of these values, the new Goodman Theatre marquee will remain lit around the clock for the foreseeable future. The ceremonial marquee lighting at Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn) begins at 5pm, with remarks by theater leadership at 5:15pm followed by the illumination at 5:30pm.
“Our marquee is the brightest, most visible symbol of Goodman Theatre’s 30+ year commitment to high quality productions, cultural and aesthetic diversity on and off our stages, and proactive engagement in our Chicago community—a commitment that has distinguished us, and redefined what a major cultural institution can be,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “We are proud to reaffirm this longtime commitment now, at a time when tensions in the United States have unleashed dark divisions. The illumination of our marquee is an essential symbol, shedding light on the values we believe are at the heart of our country.”
The January 19 illumination event is aligned with The Ghostlight Project, a national effort of the American theater.
“As part of The Ghostlight Project,” Falls continued, “we will stand with our theater colleagues across the country at the same time and pledge to protect the values of equality, inclusion, justice—and empathy for everyone, regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The Goodman’s original translucent red vertical marquee was erected in 2000, when the theater relocated from its former home at the Art Institute to its current location at Dearborn and Randolph in the downtown Theater District. The rectangular sign measured 56 feet, reaching 73 feet from ground level. Illuminated from within, the marquee featured four-foot-tall brushed stainless steel letters that spelled out “Goodman.” On May 28, 2016, the sign experienced an electrical fire, which permanently disabled its operations. The Goodman worked with Landmark Sign Group, who handcrafted a new custom state-of-the-art marquee to hang on the original steel frame; the damaged letters will be recycled.
“Working on this project has been very exciting, from start to finish. From the beginning, we have worked diligently to provide a sign that continues the tradition of being a historic landmark in downtown Chicago,” said Landmark Sign Group Project Manager Michael Lanovich. “Paying close attention to capture the spirt of the previous sign, this new display will incorporate the latest and greatest in lighting technology. We thank Goodman Theatre for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of its wonderful Chicago legacy!”
About Goodman Theatre
America’s “Best Regional Theatre” (Time magazine) and “Chicago’s flagship resident stage” (Chicago Tribune), Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit organization distinguished by the quality and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Founded in 1925, the Goodman is led by Robert Falls—“Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune ), who marks 30 years as Artistic Director this season—and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, who is celebrated for his vision and leadership over nearly four decades. Dedicated to new plays, reimagined classics and large-scale musical theater works, Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned hundreds of awards for artistic excellence, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, nearly 160 Jeff Awards and more. Over the past three decades, audiences have experienced more than 150 world or American premieres, 30 major musical productions, as well as nationally and internationally celebrated productions of classic works (including Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy). In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” For nearly four decades, the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has created a new generation of theatergoers.
The 2016 opening of the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement (“the Alice”) launched the next phase in the Goodman’s decades-long commitment as an arts and community organization dedicated to educating Chicago youth and promoting lifelong learning. Programs are offered year-round and free of charge. Eighty-five percent of the Goodman’s youth program participants come from underserved communities.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the funds necessary to create the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals. Visit the Goodman virtually at GoodmanTheatre.org—including OnStage+ for insider information—and on Twitter (@GoodmanTheatre), Facebook and Instagram.